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Warning: this post contains spoilers for the latest episode of Star Wars Rebels.
Star Wars Rebels just featured a big twist that threw many fans for a loop. Saturday night's episode saw the conclusion of a two-part arc that ended in Ghost crew member Sabine Wren leaving the team to stay behind and help fight the Empire for Mandalore. Executive producer Dave Filoni shared his thoughts on Sabine's departure, and why it had to happen:
It just feels right. Everything she's learned and grown through, and everything that she's overcome, especially in those two episodes, I think dictates that she has to continue to deal with this. It's not something that she can just walk away from, and say, 'Well I'm gonna go back with my rebel friends now. [laughs] Have fun! I opened up all of these things and Mandalore's in a state of civil war now, but...'
In terms of the story, it makes more sense for Sabine to stay with her family and fight for her homeland than to jet back off into the galaxy with the Ghost crew. Dave Filoni reminds Nerdist that the Empire is not a problem unique to the team of Star Wars Rebels; it's a problem for the Star Wars universe as a whole. Sabine stays because she feels an obligation to Mandalore, her mother, and the actions of the Empire. It's the type of character development and care that you typically don't tie to television geared towards younger audiences, but then you remember it's Disney and it all makes sense.
So will we see Sabine return? Dave Filoni, not wishing to have another Ahsoka Tano cliffhanger, has already confirmed that Sabine will reunite with the Star Wars Rebels crew. Sabine will return sometime before the season finale, but it is still unclear as to whether that reunion will end in Sabine rejoining the crew in the long term. Judging by Filoni's comments, the answer seems more yes than no at this point, as the character's departure has even affected the writing process:
And frankly sometimes it was hard to remember that she wasn't there because we were like, 'We need Sabine' and then we're like, 'Oh wait a minute, she's not with us anymore.' It is kind of a downer moment and the writers are looking at me like, 'Wait, why did we do that again? That was not smart.'
All of that leads me to believe that Sabine will be back to stay on Star Wars Rebels. She's been a core member in the series before it was even a series and just a mini-movie event, so I can't imagine the show moving on without her. For now, though, we'll have to deal with Sabine working directly for Mandalore, which is not a terrible thing. The Mandalorians were first introduced in the Star Wars mythos as designers of the armor worn by Boba Fett. It will be awesome to discover even more about Mandalore in a way we will likely never see in the films.
As Sabine works to defend Mandalore, we can expect to learn more about the nation and in turn, more about Sabine. You can watch the last leg of Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels on Saturday nights at 8:30 pm ET on Disney XD, and check out our midseason premiere guide to get a jump start on a new series beginning in March!